Icklegen loves cicada shells. She delights in picking them off trees and trying to secure them to her clothing. Or worse still, a cheeky gleam comes into her eyes and she races after me clutching a couple of them in her hands and shrieking with excitement, because she knows her mummy can’t stand the sight of them.
And it’s an ongoing activity this season. According to the locals, it is a BIG year for cicadas. I’m no expert, but these large, noisy insects have certainly have been very busy over the last couple of months. Even as I write, I can hear them singing in the trees down by the lake. And on some of our little walks out and about, the sound has been deafening. So it’s no great surprise for me to learn from the Australian Museum website that some cicada species can produce sounds over 120 decibels – close to the pain threshold of the human ear.
And then, there is “cicada rain”, essentially these lovely insects excreting a fine mist of sugary water from the plant sap they consume in vast quantities. An interesting experience as you walk under the trees where they are perched. It’s not just for protection from the sun that Aussies wear hats outdoors in the summer, after all.